Suffering a serious injury changes your life. In fact, it’s heartbreaking for anyone to see their loved one suffer, especially when it promises to be lifelong. The person who suffered a permanent injury may be left unable to work; the incident can shatter their sense of security and make them feel helpless and vulnerable. A trauma of such extent can have devastating financial impact on the victim and his/her family, not to mention the emotional pain they need to go through.
It is challenging to go through such difficult time and often calls for emotional and professional support for psychological and economical recovery. Here are some tips on how you can help your loved one, as well as yourself, through this trying time. But before that it is important to understand what a permanent injury is and how victims can seek legal help to claim compensation.
What is a Permanent Injury?
It is “an injury that has appeared with certainty and will be ongoing and not disappear.” – The Law Dictionary
It is imperative to determine the extent of an injury if you’re seeking legal help. Permanent injury, something which is likely last a lifetime, is applicable for both physical and mental damage restricting the daily activities of the victim, including his/her ability to work.
The following are some of the common type of personal injuries where one can claim for compensation (economic recovery):-
• Brain Injuries: Victims and their families can file legal suits against any or all parties responsible for the damage. If your loved one has suffered serious head and brain injuries, which also includes traumatic brain injury, you can file a case to recover the compensation.
• Broken Limbs, Scarring and Burns: Accidents such as car crashes, work place accidents, motor vehicle wrecks and boating accidents that cause the victim suffer broken limbs, lacerations, burns and/or scarring fall under this category. These are serious injuries and often causes permanent damaging, leaving the victim unable to work or provide care to their family.
• Spinal Cord Injuries: Another common form of injury that often leads to permanent damaging, spinal cord injuries can even leave the victim completely paralyzed or suffer from serious physical limitations. In such situations, the victims are left at the mercy of the family members.
In addition, permanent injury includes loss of sight or hearing, total/partial memory loss, paralysis, loss of voice, mental illness and disfigurement. The pain and emotional damage associated with each of these injuries is undeniable. Besides, these injuries may often lead to wrongful death of the victim. Though there is no way to undo the pain and suffering, with proper legal support it is at least possible to recover the compensation the victim and the family needs and deserves.
How to Help Them Recover Economically?
Many states in the US allow victims, who have suffered permanent injuries, collect compensation under two categories – economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include compensation for tangible costs such as medical bills, lost earning capacity, lost wages, and even future medical bills. Most of the states also allow victims and their families to claim for non-economic damages such as loss of consortium, for inconvenience caused due to the incident, and pain and suffering from those who are proved to be guilty.
A plaintiff can claim for the following legal compensations in case of a permanent injury:-
• Medical & Future Medical Expenses: The victim can claim for the bills and expenses for all kind of medical services including hospital stays, doctors, ambulance fees, nursing services, emergency room treatment, therapies and medicines. For future medical expenses recovery, the injured person needs to prove that continued medical care is required due to the accident or injury. An approximate estimation by a doctor is also required.
• Loss of Consortium: This claim is made when the victim and his/her spouse is deprived of the benefits of married life. The claim is often made by the uninjured spouse, though the injured spouse too can claim for compensation.
• Household Services: It is generally included as part of medical expenses. However, the plaintiff can make separate claim for the cost of hiring somebody for domestic help or to look after the victim while he/she is recuperating. It is important to prove that the expense is incurred due to the accident or injury.
• Lost Earning Capacity: Followed by the accident or injury, the plaintiff needs to prove that the injuries have impaired or diminished his/her ability to work and earn money in the future. A number of factors are taken into consideration including the plaintiff’s occupation, age, life expectancy, health, skills, experience and past earnings to determine the amount of compensation.
• Lost Wages: This is to compensate the amount of money the victim would have earned (had he/she not been injured) between the time of the incident and the date of settlement.
Apart from these, a plaintiff can also recover damages for loss of enjoyment, any mental or emotional suffering caused due to the injury, permanent disability, past/future physical pain associated with the injury, and for any other special damages connected with the incident.
The compensation claim depends of the kind of damages the victim/ family has experienced due to the injury. In case of non-economic damages, the federal government and the states have placed a damage cap, limiting the amounts the victim or his/her family can recover.
To receive compensation, it is important to prove that the accident or injury was caused due to someone else’s negligence. Besides, there are other factors associated with a permanent injury case. It is, therefore, better to consult a lawyer who will gather the related medical documentation, place a viable argument in the court and help the victim recover the compensation
Help Them Recover the Psychological Trauma
Accidents and permanent injuries leave scars that are more than skin deep. The victim often struggle with frightening memories, upsetting emotions, and sense of constant danger. It takes a while to get over the pain and suffering. While the legal proceedings and economic recovery help the victim and his/her family to get justice and financial support they deserve, emotional and psychological support is essential to heal inwardly and move on.
The suddenness of the incident usually leaves the victim and the loved ones shattered. A lot of emotions such as shock, denial, hopelessness, anger, irritability, guilt, fear, anxiety and withdrawing from others are commonly associated with psychological trauma. It needs a lot of love and care as well as professional help to bring the victim/family’s natural physical and emotional equilibrium back. While it is natural to grief following a permanent injury or loss, it is also essential to recover. And the support of a loved one plays a crucial role in it.